Thursday, July 31, 2014

Korea’s Status as Strong Shipbuilding Power Shaken

A shipyard located in China.
A shipyard located in China.
31 JULY 2014
The Korean shipbuilding industry, which used to be the world’s best, has been shaken. China, once considered far below Korea, is aggressively chasing the country's industries, so Korean shipbuilding companies cannot win orders. The situation is becoming even more serious, as there is a huge loss in the offshore plant areas believed to create high added value.
According to the report on the rapid growth of Chinese shipbuilding and offshore industries and its implications by the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade on July 30, China scored the world’s number one in new vessel orders, shipbuilding volume, and remaining order amounts both in 2012 and 2013.
- See more at: http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/article/5684/shipbuilding-crisis-korea%E2%80%99s-status-strong-shipbuilding-power-shaken#sthash.xVFr5x4e.dpuf
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Asia’s Leaders and Economic Soft Power



Indonesia has elected Jakarta governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as its new president. He joins the ranks of new Asian leaders such as Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Shinzo Abe of Japan and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who with their nationalist yet outward looking growth-oriented agendas and rapid decision making are striving to redefine Asian power and identity. These countries and their new leadership could well put Asia into the driver’s seat. Not only do they represent more than one-third of the world’s population, they are also a group of fast growing economies.
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Cambodian Defense Delegation Visits Thailand Amid Tensions


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Narendra Modi to Visit Nepal


Economists Pick Through the Bank of Korea’s Toolkit


‘Cold battle’ for Africa: China’s economic interest vs. US military activity

A C-130 U.S. Air Force plane lands as Nigerien soldiers stand in formation during the Flintlock military exercise in Diffa, March 8, 2014 (Reuters / Joe Penney)
A C-130 U.S. Air Force plane lands as Nigerien soldiers stand in formation during the Flintlock military exercise in Diffa, March 8, 2014 (Reuters / Joe Penney)
Both China and the US are trying to broaden and deepen their influence in Africa, with China dominating the continent economically, whereas the US is more pro-active militarily, Asia Times journalist Brendan O'Reilly told RT.
RT:What does the US hope to achieve with the upcoming summit?
Brendan O'Reilly: Essentially the US is trying to broaden and deepen its influence in Africa right now. The US has many interests in Africa, especially economic, and what we see a lot now is politics and military. Right now the US troops are in a broad swath of the African nations from Mali in the west all the way through to the Central African Republic, Ethiopia into Somalia, and there is a major US military base in Djibouti now, and since 2008 the US has established the US Africa Command to coordinate military activities in Africa.
RT: What are the key factors that attract foreign investors to Africa?
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Russia’s Strategic Pakistan Play


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Asian Countries To Spend $100B On New Airports As Passenger Traffic Grows


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Japan’s Second Quarter Slump Could Be Worse Than ‘97


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Likelihood of Korea becoming a country with more external assets than external debts


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Asia Times Online :: WHO slams Seoul on failure to track traditional medicine

Asia Times Online :: WHO slams Seoul on failure to track traditional medicine


Cambodia’s Ongoing Human Trafficking Problem


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South Korean Teens Describe Harrowing Escape From Sinking Sewol Ferry

A man stands in front of an altar dedicated to the missing and dead passengers on board the capsized Sewol ferry, at a port in Jindo, April 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Thomson Reuters
A man stands in front of an altar dedicated to missing and dead passengers on board capsized Sewol ferry, at port in Jindo
ANSAN South Korea (Reuters) - Six teenagers who survived South Korea's worst maritime disaster in 44 years told on Monday how classmates helped them float free as water flooded their cabins despite crew instructions to stay put even as their ferry sank, killing more than 300 people.
The teenagers, whose names were withheld to protect their privacy, were giving testimony at the trial of 15 crew members, who face charges ranging from homicide to negligence for abandoning the sinking ship.
"We were waiting and, when the water started coming in, the class rep told everyone to put on the life vests ... the door was above our heads, so she said we'll float and go through the door and that's how we came out," one of the teenagers said.
"Other kids who got out before us pulled us out."
The ferry Sewol sank on April 16, killing 304 people, as many as 250 of them school children on a field trip. Twelve of their teachers were also killed.
The ferry was on a routine trip from the port of Incheon south to Jeju island, carrying students and teachers from the Danwon High School on the outskirts of Seoul as well as other passengers and cargo.
Another of the teenagers told how crew members had told passengers, "specifically the students of Danwon High School", to stay in their cabins.
"Water started to fill in and friends helped us move out," the student said.
Others described how coastguard officers waited outside the stricken ferry for passengers to swim out rather than go into the ship to try and rescue them.

Book Review: Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 by Suzy Kim reviewed by Glyn Ford



27 July 2014 — Suzy Kim uses as the foundation of her new study a mountain of documents captured during the Korean War from the north of Inje County that straddled the 38th parallel prior to the war. This material has to date been barely explored by academics, although a decade ago Charles Armstrong did a similar labor of love on a wider canvas with his The North Korean Revolution 1945-50 in which he made the convincing case that the resilience of North Korea owed much to the fact that its revolution was, unlike those in much of Central and Eastern Europe, notimposed but indigenous, cut with the grain of Korean culture, history and community.
It was a revolution nonetheless. Here in a lucid and detailed analysis, Kim explores the three central elements of that process: land reform, literacy and elections, each of which was both transformatory and incredibly popular. Land reform took the land from the feudal landowners and distributed it evenly amongst the landless and poor peasants. The result was a 50% leap in output and productivity. The gains in literacy were even more striking. In 1944, 80% of Koreans had had no of schooling of any kind; by March 1948, half-way through the three year literacy campaign, 92% of peasants in the North had learnt to read and write; the number continued to creep up towards an unattainable 100%.
There were elections in both 1946 and 1947. While the North Korean Workers Party—the Communist Party—was by far the largest party with over 30% of those elected, it was far from the only party represented. In 1946, about 20% of those elected were split evenly between the anti-western nationalism/nativism of the Chondogyo Young Friends Party and the Democratic Party;and just shy of 50% were independents. In the People’s Assembly elections of 1947, the figures were 36% Workers Party, 13% Chondoists, 13% Democratic Party and 38% independents.
Simultaneously—in a break with the Confucian tradition of male seniority—there were mass mobilizations into not only the Party itself but also women and youth organizations that changed forever Korea’s patriarchal, feudal and deferential society. Women were brought out of the kitchen into the frontline. These organizations served as transmission belts to deliver the new thinking. The new social system—unlike that in the Soviet Union—was epitomized more by motherhood than brotherhood. This, like so much in Korea, had its origins in the Japanese occupation: Korean mothers were told “sons are not your own but are the Imperial Majesty’s sons.” Now their responsibility was to nation rather than Empire.

Friday, July 25, 2014

South Korea’s Free Trade Dilemma


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Paul Warburg's concept in China: China’s New Global Institutions


In January 1907, The New York Times published “Defects and Needs of Our Banking System,” an essay that would have a significant impact on the financial world. Within the extended article, a German immigrant named Paul Warburg railed against the inherent vulnerability of a financial status quo that had forced Americans to rely heavily upon European banking systems, particularly that of England, to “take measures for the regulation of our own household.” Warburg also believed that “so long as it [the U.S. financial system] is not thoroughly reformed, it will prevent us from ever becoming the financial centre of the world.” Thus, for the sake of financial health and the future goals of the U.S., a rising power during the early twentieth century, Warburg argued for an entirely new banking institution. After the Panic of 1907, the Senate brought Warburg on as an economic reform consultant. Within fifteen years, the ideas expressed in his article turned into a concrete reality through the creation of the Federal Reserve.
More than a century later, in a year when periodicals are full of comparisons to the period before World War I, surprisingly few mentions are made of Paul Warburg, whose attitude towards global institutions is very much alive in today’s rising power, the People’s Republic of China.
Similar to how Warburg felt about the U.S. and its relationship with the global financial community at the turn of the century, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his colleagues seem to believe that current institutional arrangements are not ideal for China’s ambition to achieve superpower status. In response, over the past few years, Beijing has created and updated international organizations, bodies and forums with a fervor not seen since the Allies redesigned the global community in the mid-1940s.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Central Asian Security


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China, South Korea Establish Military Hotline High-level defense officials met in Beijing to establish a hotline and discuss Japan’s collective self-defense.


India’s Space Diplomacy


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Uber and Classic Asian Mercantilism Seoul’s decision to ban a popular app is the latest of many examples of mercantilist policies in Asia.


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Bangladesh Wants to Join BRICS Bank


Japan’s Human Rights Record Comes Under Scrutiny


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Australia Out of Step With Asia on Israel-Palestine


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

India and Indo-Pacific Economic Cooperation


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Is India's Hindu Right Getting More Assertive? Members of a right wing Hindu party force a Muslim to eat during Ramadan.


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South Korea Considers a Japanese Style Stimulus


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Economic Dependence: Korean Economy Increasingly Subordinate To China

24 JULY 2014
The Korean economy’s dependence on China is accelerating in almost all fields ranging from trade to domestic consumption, finance, and real estate.
According to the Bank of Korea, exports to China accounted for 21.9 percent of Korea’s total exports of US$617.1 billion for last year. During the same period, 16.3 percent of the total imports of US$536.6 billion was from China.
At present, China is the largest trade partner for Korea. The ratio of China skyrocketed from 7.7 percent to 58.8 percent when it comes to the goods balance surplus. This means that both the export and import sides of Korea could be shaken without China.
The domestic market relies heavily on China, too. Store owners in Myeongdong would have to shut down their businesses without Chinese tourists. Shinhan Card big data shows that tourists from China spent 82.7 percent more last year when compared to a year earlier. The 4.3 million Chinese visitors spent 3.8 trillion won (US$3.69 billion) by credit card in 2013, which is equivalent to 48.1 percent of the total credit card payments by foreigners.
Chinese funds are exerting great influence in the financial sector as well. Chinese investors purchased Korean marketable securities worth a total of 1.412 trillion won (US$1.372 billion) between December 2013 and May this year to record the highest net purchase by country.
The yuan deposit balance has recently exceeded US$10 billion, and the ratio of it to the foreign currency deposits of domestic residents broke the 20 percent mark for the first time last month. The yuan deposit increased 50-fold during the past year. Under the circumstances, an increasing number of industry insiders are predicting that the Korean economy will revolve around the yuan, instead of the U.S. dollar, in the future, once direct won-yuan transaction is accelerated by capitalizing on the recent state visit of President Xi Jinping.
The area of the land in Jeju Island owned by Chinese increased 2.2-fold to 3.15 million square meters as of the end of last year. Americans own 3.74 million square meters of land on the island now. Chinese private equity fund Meitung is going to invest 5 trillion won (US$4.8 billion) in the real estate market of Korea. The Greenland Holding Group, which is planning to set up a building worth 1 trillion won (US$971 million) in Jeju, is targeting real estate properties of the Korea Electric Power Corporation, too.
“We now need to open the gate only after examining the characteristics of Chinese capital, instead of blindly welcoming them,” said Hyundai Research Institute analyst Han Jae-jin.
- See more at: http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/article/5591/economic-dependence-korean-economy-increasingly-subordinate-china#sthash.sMM2lcEG.dpuf

Number of Foreigners Visiting Korea Increased 20.3% Last Month

Visitors to the Boryeong Mud Festival, a popular tourist attraction in the summer, enjoy the sights and free mud. (Photo by Stinkie Pinkie via Wikimedia Commons)
Visitors to the Boryeong Mud Festival, a popular tourist attraction in the summer, enjoy the sights and free mud. (Photo by Stinkie Pinkie via Wikimedia Commons)
24 JULY 2014
The Korea Tourism Organization announced on July 23 that the number of foreigners who visited Korea last month increased 20.3 percent year-on-year to 1,273,627.
In particular, the number of Chinese tourists soared by 43.8 percent, owing to the holiday season from June 1 to 3 and the summer vacation that started in mid-June. The number of tourists from Hong Kong jumped 57.4 percent thanks to the popularity of the Korean Wave. The no-visa agreement between Korea and Russia resulted in 32.9 percent growth in the number of Russians entering Korea.
Meanwhile, that of Japanese tourists decreased 14 percent. The possible reasons include the ongoing diplomatic conflict between Korea and Japan, decline in youth exchange programs, and less use of package trips by senior citizens.
During the same period, a total of 1,270,439 Koreans went abroad, to show a 4.0 percent growth from the previous year.
- See more at: http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/article/5585/increased-foreign-visitors-number-foreigners-visiting-korea-increased-203-last-month#sthash.bxQbD3no.dpuf

Closing Wallets: Korean Consumer Sentiment Index 55th Place out of 60 Countries

Women's shoes in the famous Dongdaemun shopping district remain unbought amidst record-low consumer confidence in South Korea.
Women's shoes in the famous Dongdaemun shopping district remain unbought amidst record-low consumer confidence in South Korea.
- See more at: http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/article/5581/closing-wallets-korean-consumer-sentiment-index-55th-place-out-60-countries#sthash.PpLQxBFi.dpuf
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The Consequences of Shaming Politics in East Asia


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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Extraordinary Story of the Komagata Maru: Commemorating the One Hundred Year Challenge to Canada’s Immigration Colour Bar

1. Gurdit Singh (front row, left with his son) challenged Canada’s exclusion laws by chartering the Komagata Maru in Hong Kong and bringing 376 of his compatriots to Vancouver. (Courtesy: Vancouver Public Library, 6231. Frank Leonard photograph)
John Price and Satwinder Bains
One hundred years ago, Gurdit Singh Sirhali chartered the Japanese steamship Komagata Maru and brought 376 Indian passengers to Canada in a direct challenge to Canada’s immigration colour bar.1 The ship’s forced departure from Vancouver harbour on July 23, 1914 ended an extraordinary two-month standoff between the passengers, determined to enter Canada, and a Canadian government determined to enforce its anti-Asian exclusion policies, come what may. The ship’s departure, however, was not the end of this saga—the passengers faced unimaginable hardships on the return voyage only to be met by the iron fist of British authorities upon their arrival in India.
The Komagata Maru story has tended to be inscribed in national narratives, both Canadian and Indian, but in this article we argue that the 1914 confrontation was a historical moment in which a heterogenous, diasporic movement for social justice became a wellspring for a transborder, anti-colonial upsurge. Entangled in the maw of virulent settler racism and the emerging British-American alliance for global white supremacy, the Komagata Maru saga would have profound repercussions that continue to be felt to this day.
Transnational Background

Migrant Brides in South Korea


recent article in the Washington Post follows a Korean man and his Vietnamese mail-order bride and their journey to transnational holy matrimony. The couple depicted by the author is but one case in the thousands of international marriages in South Korea. The phenomenon of mail-order brides in South Korea and the issues that stem from it have in fact been developing for decades. Unfortunately, not all of these marriages have a fairy tale ending. As The Diplomat’s Tae-jun Kang has pointed out, some 69 percent of immigrant wives say they have experienced some form of abuse from their Korean husbands and international marriages frequently end in separation.
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4 Reasons China Removed Oil Rig HYSY-981 Sooner Than Planned


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After HYSY-981: A US-Vietnam Alliance?


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The dog meat debate in South Korea



Eating dog meat is a divisive issue among Koreans. In the past, a cultural relativist argument was made to support the tradition of eating dog meat in Korea. It was claimed that eating the cute critters was a unique aspect of Korean culture that couldn't be understood by outsiders.But in recent years concerns over animal welfare have come up and clashed with those older values.
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This is the one thing I hate the most about living in Korea six months out of the year. 
Being one who loves dogs more than people.
 I find this archaic tradition to be barbaric.
In the country side they treat dogs worst than farm animals. Tied to a chain or crated in a cage for their entire lives.

I always wonder when I see city people with their pet  dogs if they secretly go to a dog restautant.
Why the Korean government does not take a bold and humane step to shut down the dog farms is beyond me.

Tao Dao Man






North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Facility: Problems Continue with Reactor Operations


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Seoul-Beijing military hotline to be established